PITBOSS Activities Test

Pitboss, a watchdog deamon controls the processes on a NetScaler appliance. If the pitboss detects a failing process, it will try to restart it, and if the pitboss fails to restart a process in 5 attempts, on the sixth failure, the NetScaler will undergo a full reboot. If the failure of the pitboss forces the process as well as the NetScaler to reboot frequently, then with each reboot, the performance of the NetScaler appliance would be on the downhill! To detect such failures at the earliest and identify the processes that are failing, administrators can use the PITBOSS Activities test. Using this test, administrators can figure out the number of times a pitboss watch was added to a process and deleted to a process. In addition, this test throws light on the number of times the process has reached the maximum number of restarts thus allowing the pitboss to restart the NetScaler appliance.

For this test to run and report metrics, the NetScaler appliance should be configured to create a Syslog file in a remote Syslog server, where the details of all interactions with the NetScaler appliance will be logged. To know how to configure a remote Syslog server for the use of the NetScaler appliance, refer to Creating a Syslog file in a remote Syslog server topic.

This test is disabled by default. To enable the test, follow the Agents -> Tests -> Enable/Disable menu sequence in the eG administrative interface, pick Citrix NetScaler VPX/MPX as the Component type, select Performance as the Test type, choose this test from the list of disabled tests list, and click on the < button.

Target of the test : A NetScaler VPX/MPX

Agent deploying the test : A remote agent

Outputs of the test : One set of results for the NetScaler appliance being monitored.

Configurable parameters for the test
Parameter Description

Test Period

How often should the test be executed

Host

The IP address of the host for which the test is being configured.

Port

The port at which the host listens. By default, this is NULL.

Log File Path

This test reports metrics by parsing a Syslog file. Specify the full path to the Syslog file here.

Search String

By default, the Syslog file may contain information relating to a number of servers that are inter linked with the target NetScaler appliance. In order to obtain the metrics of the target NetScaler appliance alone, specify the hostname or the IP address of the target NetScaler appliance for which the logs are to be read from the syslog file, in the Search String text box. Using this search string the information in the Syslog file may be parsed and metrics may be collected.

Search String Index

Here, specify the cursor position after which the eG agent should search for the specified Search String (or the position up to which the eG agent should ignore while searching for the specified Search String) in the syslog file. For example, if the specified Search String appears in the syslog file at the 17th position, then you may need to specify the Search String as 16.

DD Frequency

Refers to the frequency with which detailed diagnosis measures are to be generated for this test. The default is 1:1. This indicates that, by default, detailed measures will be generated every time this test runs, and also every time the test detects a problem. You can modify this frequency, if you so desire. Also, if you intend to disable the detailed diagnosis capability for this test, you can do so by specifying none against DD Frequency.

Detailed Diagnosis

To make diagnosis more efficient and accurate, the eG Enterprise embeds an optional detailed diagnostic capability. With this capability, the eG agents can be configured to run detailed, more elaborate tests as and when specific problems are detected. To enable the detailed diagnosis capability of this test for a particular server, choose the On option. To disable the capability, click on the Off option.

The option to selectively enable/disable the detailed diagnosis capability will be available only if the following conditions are fulfilled:

  • The eG manager license should allow the detailed diagnosis capability
  • Both the normal and abnormal frequencies configured for the detailed diagnosis measures should not be 0.
Measurements made by the test
Measurement Description Measurement Unit Interpretation

Pitboss watch added

Indicates the number of times pitboss watch was added on a process with the process ID.

Number

A high value for this measure is a cause of concern as this may indicate that a large number of processes running on the NetScaler appliance are failing.

Pitboss watch deleted

Indicates the number of times pitboss watch was deleted from a process with the process ID.

Number

 

Pitboss system restarts

Indicates the number of times the process with pid had reached the maximum number of restarts thus leading to system reboot.

Number

Ideally, the value of this measure should be zero.

Pitboss process restarts

Indicates the number of times the process with pid had reached the maximum number of restarts thus leading to process reboot.

Number

Ideally, the value of this measure should be zero.